Study Finds “Berry” Good News for Women’s Heart Health

Attention ladies: go ahead and add some blueberries to your morning yogurt. Toss some strawberries onto your salad at lunchtime, too.

Those berries might just cut your risk of a heart attack by as much as one-third.

A new study published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, found that women were able to lower their heart attack risk by eating three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries per week. These particular berries contain high levels of dietary flavonoids, according to a news release from the AHA. These compounds are also found in grapes, wine, blackberries, and eggplant. Anthocyanins – a type of flavonoids – may improve heart health by helping the arteries dilate and preventing the buildup of plaque, the study states.

“Blueberries and strawberries can easily be incorporated into what women eat every week,” said Eric Rimm, senior author of the study and an associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. “This simple dietary change could have a significant impact on prevention efforts.”

The researchers noted that other foods containing these flavonoids could also lower the risk of heart attack, but the study only focused on strawberries and blueberries because they are the most eaten berries in the United States.

More than 93,000 women between the ages of 25 and 42 participated in the 18-year study. During the study’s course, 405 heart attacks occurred. Those who ate the most blueberries and strawberries enjoyed a 32 percent drop in their risk for a heart attack compared to women who ate these types of berries once a month or less, according to the news release.

“We have shown that even at an early age, eating more of these fruits may reduce risk of a heart attack later in life,” said Aedin Cassidy, lead author and health of the department of nutrition at Norwich Medical School.

Source: American Heart Association news release

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